TFN is proud to present this interview with Amy Allen of Episode II fame. Thanks to Mark Dermul, the PR Manager of www.teekay-421.be, the Belgian Star Wars Fan Club and publisher of the Star Wars Autograph Bounty Hunter www.bountyhunter.tk.
Autograph Bounty Hunter had the great opportunity to have a private signing with Episode II actress Amy Allen, aka Aayla Secura. She sheds some unique light on her experiences in front and behind the camera?
She gracefully handles a clear blue lightsaber, somewhat the same hue as her skin. She holds her own in the Arena on Geonosis and bravely fights alongside the other Jedi. She is one of the few Twi?lek Jedi.
This is our chance to get some answers from her alter ego: the acclaimed actress and very friendly lady Amy Allen.
Mark: Amy, thank you for taking the time to talk to the Belgian fans. Have you ever been to Belgium? If so, what do you remember about our little country?
Amy: I have never been to Belgium, however I would love the opportunity to visit.
Mark: Aayla Secura has become a very popular character. She has appeared in numerous comics and computer games. How do you explain that popularity?
Amy: The popularity of the character is overwhelming and truly special. I am not really sure how to explain it. I just feel so fortunate to be a part of Star Wars. It's part of history! I am grateful to the dedicated fans who are not only nice to me, they are the true hardcore Aayla Secura fans. Aayla is a beautiful creature, so it doesn't surprise me that so many people have really taken a liking to her.
Mark: Back to your work on Episode II. When and how did you land the part of Aayla Secura?
Amy: The role of Aayla came about just prior to the release of Episode II. I was working for ILM as a stage production assistant on EP II. SW was in full swing and George Lucas had spotted a Dark Horse Comic Book with Aayla on the cover. My production manager and friend Julie D'Antoni asked me if I was up for the part! I said sure. After all I had previous Twi'lek experience. For the DVD of The Phantom Menace, I was a Twi'lek Senatorial Aide. I am pretty sure this all came to fruition in January/February of 2002. Overall it was a fantastic experience and one I will never forget.
Mark: On the set, while shooting, you had to wear the Jedi outfit. It?s quite different from the traditional Jedi robes. You look quite exotic, even sexy. Did you have any say in that?
Amy: Well, the costume created for me is pretty much identical to the one in the comic books. My close friend and costume designer Gillian Libbert picked out some really fun fabrics and with the help of a some other key players Aayla's costume came to life. Yes, it is quite a sexy costume, especially for a Jedi. I was definitely in an environment where I could voice if I thought something didn't look quite right. Overall I love the costume and I would love to wear it again!
Mark: I?m sure a lot of fans would love to see that happen as well. Some people even claim you and George Lucas are romantically involved and that this is partially the explanation why there is so much of your character in the final product. Any truth to that?
Amy: No truth at all! George Lucas is a kind person who has given me the opportunity of a lifetime and something I will share with my kids!
Mark: How was the atmosphere on the set? Was it easy to work with those special effects? With George? With your co-stars?
Amy: The atmosphere on the set was awesome! I was in my element, with all my friends. I worked with George Lucas for the day and that was pretty amazing. Think about it, I was working as a production assistant one day and the next I was dressed up, painted blue and being directed by George Lucas. I had no interaction with other actors, I shot all my scenes alone. Well, actually I did have one scene with a creature of some sort. Another cool thing was working with all the VFX supervisors like John Knoll. Sometimes when I looked around ILM and knew the kind of people I was working with, I realized how lucky I was.
Mark: Is there a lot of Amy Allen in Aayla Secura, or the other way around? Or did you try to come up with a whole new ?personality? for the Twi?lek Jedi?
Amy: I think there is a lot of Amy in Aayla. Since I was shooting with a crew I knew so well I was super comfortable and completely myself. I am not a shy person, I like to talk and I know Aayla is not at all a timid woman, after all she is a Jedi!
Mark: What was your impression on the end product? Did you like Episode II and if so, what did you like best of it?
Amy: I really liked Episode II. I think for me it was the best of both worlds. I worked on it for about 6 months behind the scenes and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play Aayla and become part of a major motion picture. Episode II was shot in HD and for me that was a whole new aspect of movie making for me to learn. Learning about HD is a definite plus for me and knowledge I can apply in my career.
Mark: You also worked as production assistant for ILM, I hear. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Amy: Sure! I lived in San Francisco close to 8 years. I studied film at San Francisco State University, graduated and continued with my waitressing/bartending job until my good friend who was already working for ILM passed my resume along. I was hired about 2 weeks later. ILM took a chance with me, even though I had a film degree I still did not have a ton of experience. Especially when I was working for one of the best Special Effects houses in the world. I knew nothing of visual effects when I started, but within months I literally became a different person. I left ILM in 2002 and I hope to go back one day. I made some close friends and working there was really special. The knowledge I took away with me after spending almost 2 years there is incredible. I became so much more confident and I was really able to learn so much about the business.
Mark: Any chance we?ll see more of Aayla Secura in Episode III?
Amy: I sure hope so! I have been in both Episode I & II. Third time?s a charm! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Mark: And we along with you! Has Episode II affected your other work? And can you tell us anything else of your other projects?
Amy: Being a part of Episode II has made things very exciting, I spend a lot of time traveling and attending conventions. I have met some really incredible and nice people. One of the coolest things has been meeting Jan Duursema. Jan is the women who draws Aayla and she is a wonderfully kind woman, not to mention SO TALENTED!
Mark: So what are your plans for the immediate future?
Amy: I am living in Los Angeles and looking for a job. I decided I love working behind the camera so I am hoping to continue down that road.
Mark: You have become a familiar face on conventions. Celebration II, Mid-Ohio Con, etc. Do you enjoy these conventions and would you like to travel to Europe for one?
Amy: I love doing conventions, they have become a part of my life. I have already been to Paris which was great. I would love to continue doing more conventions in Europe...
Mark: If fans want to see what you are up to, can they point their browsers in your direction?
Amy: Unfortunatley I was really slow in doing a website. My friend Justin over at World Famous Comics and I are going to be doing something shortly. Jan Duursema also has a page there.
Mark: Hasbro has recently released the action figure of Aayla Secura. Have you seen it? Do you like the idea of having yourself reduced to a 3,75 inch toy?
Amy: Yes, I have seen it. In fact my lovely friends at Hasbro have just sent me some. I love it! They did a fantastic job. I love the idea of being reduced in size. It's not every day that one becomes an action figure.
Mark: Amy, thank you so much for your time. It?s been a privilege! Hope to see you in Episode III and best of luck to you and yours.
Amy: Thank you Mark! I look forward to meeting you in the near future! Take care!